English Courses for Teens


Semester courses in literature and writing

Register for Aug 29-Dec 13 | Jan 30-May 15

We’re thrilled to be offering two semester-length, college-prep courses for teens! Both our lower- and upper-class courses will teach essential lessons through in-depth studies of literature, supplemented by music, film and art.

Foundations and Chronicles will meet ALL language arts standards, including essay writing.  (A-g approval is pending.)  And at the end of the semester, you’ll get a list of the standards met.

Our former Master Classes have been absorbed into these two courses, allowing the time and regularity to:

  • study significant narratives and poetry in depth
  • analyze different expressions of similar ideas, e.g. through music, film, and art
  • engage with important ideas to understand the impact of American history
  • gain essential composition skills every week
  • write at least one full-length essay every semester


There’s also an add-on option for after-class tutoring in academic writing! Get a break when you sign up for the whole semester, or you can arrange single sessions (cash/check only).

These are rich, comprehensive English courses that will broaden your student’s horizons and prepare them for college—and life!

See the reading list for Foundations (ages 13+) and Chronicles (ages 16+) below.

Hours: 9am – 11am  (The after-class tutoring option is from 11am-noon)

Fall Dates:

Aug 29-Dec 12 Foundations for ages 13+  (meets every Thursday except 9/19 and 11/28)

Aug 30-Dec 13 Chronicles for ages 16+  (meets every Friday except 9/20 and 11/29)

Spring Dates:

Jan 30-May 14  Foundations for ages 13+ (meets every Thursday except 3/19 and 4/9)

Jan 31-May 15  Chronicles for ages 16+ (meets every Friday except 3/20 and 4/10)


See the course schedules for Foundations (ages 13+) and Chronicles (ages 16+) below.

LIsa Craddock LitWits instructor English courses and writing camps

Instructor:  We couldn’t ask for a more qualified, enthusiastic, teen-savvy teacher for these two important courses than our wonderful Mrs. C.! Lisa Craddock holds BAs in Literature and Theatre, and a Master of Humanities in Film Studies with a concentration in Rhetoric (the art of speaking and writing effectively).  She has taught classes in literature, composition, and film for the University of Colorado, and her scholarship, essays, poetry, and plays have appeared in a variety of literary and academic venues.

Lisa considers it a privilege to homeschool her own four children, avid fans of LitWits since its beginning.  She’s led many educational events for the homeschool community, helping young readers understand themselves and the world through “living books.”  We’re so proud to have her on our team! We know she’ll help your teens grasp great big ideas and gain skills they’ll never forget.

Cost:  Each semester-length course is $395. The add-on tutoring option from 11-noon is $490 for the semester.  (Single tutoring sessions are available by arrangement for $45/hour by cash or check.)  If you’d like to be billed via PayPal 30 days prior, enter promo code BILLME at the top of the registration form.

LitWits Workshops is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove Charter School and Inspire Charter Schools. Charter parents, please enter promo code CHARTER when you register, then request a purchase order right away.

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel 30 days before the first class, you’ll have the choice of a refund or makeup. Makeups may be applied to any LitWits events. (Use promo code MAKEUP to re-register, and please remind us, in the Notes field, which event you missed.) If you cancel after that, you’ll have a makeup coming. There are no refunds or make-ups for no-shows, as we’ve hired our instructor based on expected enrollment.We hope that makes sense and seems fair!





The course plan will be finalized at the beginning of the semester, but the schedule below reflects the quality and significance of the titles and ideas we will work with this semester.

Fall 2019:  The Origins of Narrative

PART ONE:  The Oldest Stories

Aug 29    Myths and Sacred Stories: multi-cultural narratives of creation, fall, and redemption; The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

Sep 5       Fables and Fairy Tales: Aesop’s fables; trickster tales (Native American, African American, Eastern European); the Grimm brothers; Animal Farm

PART TWO:  The Seven Basic Stories

Sep 12     The Quest: The Odyssey; Star Wars (1977)

Sep 19     NO CLASS

Sep 26     Overcoming the Monster: The Greek myth of Perseus; The War of the Worlds

Oct 3        Voyage and Return: The Old Man and the Sea

Oct 10      Rags to Riches: Cinderella around the world

Oct 17      Rags to Riches Pt.2:  The Cinderella project

Oct 24     Comedy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Oct 31     Comedy Pt. 2: Emma

Nov 7      Tragedy: Romeo & Juliet

Nov 14    Tragedy Pt. 2: The Greek myth of Icarus; The Snow Goose;The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Nov 21    Rebirth: A Christmas Carol

PART THREE:  The Stories Surrounding Us

Dec 5      TBD

Dec 12    TBD


Spring 2020: Uniquely American Narratives

PART ONE: America’s Origin Stories

Jan 30    Great American Myths: The Musical 1776; The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (excerpts)

Feb 6       Slave Narratives: The Uncle Remus Tales, Mules & Men (excerpts)

Feb 13     Slave Narratives Pt. 2: 12 Years a Slave (excerpts); Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (excerpts)

Feb 20    The Abolitionist Narrative: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Feb 27     American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale: Pocahontas, Annie Oakley; The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)

PART TWO: The Seven Basic Stories—American Style

Mar 5      Overcoming the Monster: Moby Dick (graphic novel or movie—TBD)

Mar 12     Rags to Riches: The Gold Rush (1925); City Lights (1931)

Mar 19     NO CLASS

Mar 26     The Quest: Roughing It (excerpts); Travels with Charley (excerpts)

Apr 2        Voyage and Return: The Wizard of Oz (1939); Apollo 13 (1995)

Apr 9        NO CLASS

Apr 16      Tragedy & Comedy: West Side Story (1961); The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966)

Apr 23      Rebirth: Dandelion Wine

PART THREE: How We Envision Our Own Stories

Apr 30     The End of America’s Story?:  Fahrenheit 451

May 7       The Great American Hero

May 14     Writing Our Own Story: Into the Wild (excerpts)




The course plan will be finalized at the beginning of the semester, but the schedule below reflects the quality and significance of the titles and ideas we will work with this semester.

Fall 2019:  American Inheritance

Aug 30     The musical Hamilton –audio (1776-1800/2015);  Thomas Paine: “Common Sense” –pamphlet (1775-6)

Sep 6        The Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers; The Iroquois Constitution by Dekanawidah, translated by Arthur C. Parker

Sep 13       Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter –novel (mid-1600s/1850)

Sep 20      NO CLASS

Sep 27       Phillis Wheatley:  “On Being Brought from Africa to America”–poem (1773); The Life of Omar Ibn Said –excerpt (1860s);
                   Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Chapters 1, 2 & 7 –excerpt from book (birth-1838/1845);
“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” –excerpt from speech (1852);
Sojourner Truth: “And Ain’t I a Woman?” –speech (1851); “An Account of an Experience with Discrimination” –first-person account (1865)

Oct 4         Mark Twain:  he Adventures of Huckleberry Finn —novel (1885)

Oct 11       The General –film (1926); primary sources from the Civil War (diaries/journals); the Gettysburg Address; the Emancipation Proclamation

Oct 18      Stephen Crane:  The Red Badge of Courage –novel (1863/1895)

Oct 25      Glory –film (1863/1989);  Francis Scott Key:  “The Star Spangled Banner” –song lyrics (1814/1854)

Nov 1        Dances with Wolves  –film (1863/1990); Dee Brown: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee —excerpt (1800s); Chief Joseph: “I Will Fight No More Forever” –speech (1877)

Nov 8       Willa Cather:  My Antonia –novel (1880s-1910/1918); Katharine Lee Bates: “America the Beautiful” -song  (1895/1910)

Nov 15     Paul Laurence Dunbar:  “Douglass” –poem (1890s), “We Wear the Masks” –poem (1890s);
Kate Chopin: “The Story of an Hour” –short story (1894), “Desiree’s Baby” –short story (1894)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: “The Yellow Wallpaper” –short story (1892)
Susan Glaspell: “A Jury of Her Peers” -short story (1917)
“Booker T and W.E.B.” –article & excerpts of writings (1900s)

Nov 22    The musical Ragtime –audio (1904/1996); Emma Lazarus: “The New Colossus” –poem (1883)

Nov 29     NO CLASS

Dec 6        Upton Sinclair:  The Jungle –novel (1906);  Carl Sandburg: “I am the People, the Mob” –poem (1916); O. Henry: “The Gift of the Magi” –short story (1905)


Spring 2020

Jan 31      Alan Seeger: “Rendezvous” –poem (1916), “Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France” –poem (1916)
Ernest Hemingway: “Champs d’Honneur” –poem (1920),  “A Soldier’s Home” –short story (1925)
Paul Laurence Dunbar:  “The Colored Soldiers” –poem
Claude McKay: “If We Must Die” –poem (1919)
Tim Dayton:  “American Literature and the First World War” –non-fiction article (2016)

Feb 7        F. Scott Fitzgerald:  The Great Gatsby –excerpts & scenes (1925);  Charlie Chaplin: The Gold Rush –film (1925)

Feb 14      Places in the Heart –film (1930s/1984); Abel Meeropol: “Strange Fruit” –poem (1937); Billie Holiday:“Strange Fruit” –song (1939)
Selections from Porgy & Bess (1935/1955);  Eudora Welty: “A Worn Path” –short story (1941)
Samuel Francis Smith:  “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” –poem/anthem (1831);  W.E.B. DuBois:  “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” –poem (1940)

Feb 21      John Steinbeck:  The Grapes of Wrath –novel  (1939); “The Harvest Gypsies” –excerpt (1936)

Feb 28      Race –film (1930s/2016); Chaim Potok:  The Chosen –novel (1940s/1967)
Dean Hughes:  Four-Four-Two –novel (WWII/2016)
Joseph Bruchac:  Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two –novel (WWII/2006)

Mar 6       Harper Lee:  To Kill a Mockingbird –novel (1930s/1960)

Mar 13     Lorraine Hansberry:  A Raisin in the Sun –read play and watch film (1959/1961)

Mar 20     NO CLASS

Mar 27     Poetry by Walt Whitman:  “I Hear America Singing” (1860); Langston Hughes: “I, Too”  (1926), “Words Like Freedom” (1926), “Harlem” (1951);
Gwendolyn Brooks:  “We Real Cool” (1960);  Robert Hayden: “Frederick Douglass” (1966)

Apr 3        Driving Miss Daisy –film (1989 re 1948-1973);
Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Letter from Birmingham Jail” –excerpt/speech, “I Have a Dream” –speech/audio, speech video with subtitles (1963)
“The Dr. King You Never Knew” –article (2018)

Apr 10      NO CLASS (Spring Break)

Apr 17      Hidden Figures –film (2016 re 1950s & ‘60s); Adrienne Rich: “Power” –poem (1971/’72), “Diving into the Wreck” –poem (1971/’72)
Maya Angelou:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings –excerpts (1969); “Still I Rise” –poem (1978);
Margaret Atwood: “Spelling” –poem (1981); Alice Walker: “Everyday Use” –short story (1973), “Women” –poem

Apr 24     TBD

May 1      Amy Tan:  The Joy Luck Club –novel (1989)

May 8      Stand and Deliver –film (1988); Richard Rodriguez:  Hunger of Memory –autobiography; Francisco Jiménez:  The Circuit —excerpt (1997 re 1940s & ’50s)
Emmy Perez:  “Not One More Refugee Death” –poem (2016)

May 15     Bruce Hornsby & the Range:  “That’s Just the Way It Is” –song (1986);  Tupak Shakur:“Changes” –song (1992);
Tato Laviera: “lady liberty” –poem (2014);  Langston Hughes: “Let America Be America Again” –poem (1935)
Hayan Charara:  “Usage” –poem excerpt (2016); Brené Brown: Braving the Wilderness –non-fiction book excerpt (2017)
Pentatonix:  “Imagine” –song (2017);  Superfruit & friends–“Rise” –song (2016)